P. GOVINDASWAMI PADAYACHI Vs. SRI SURYANARAYANASWAMI DEVASTHANAM BY ITS HEREDITARY TRUSTEE, TIRUVADUTHURAI ADHEENAM
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
P. Govindaswami Padayachi
Sri Suryanarayanaswami Devasthanam By Its Hereditary Trustee, Tiruvaduthurai Adheenam
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Sadasivam, J. -
(1.) PETITIONER Govindaswami Padayachi seeks to revise the order of the District Revenue Officer, Thanjavur confirming that of the Authorised Officer, Land Reforms, Thanjavur directing the petitioner to surrender possession of the land belonging to the respondent -trust. The finding of the Authorised Officer and the District Revenue Officer that the petitioner owns 9.24 ordinary acres equivalent to 6.60 standard acres of land and hence he is not entitled to retain possession of Sri Suryanarayanaswami Devasthanam lands leased to him is rot disputed. In fact, the petitioner claims to have surrendered 28.29 acres of land belonging to the trust and he claims rights in respect of only 4.78 acres of land on the ground that it is exempt from the operation of the Act. The District Revenue Officer has pointed out in his order that the petitioner has not put forward any plea in his counter before the Authorised Officer that 4.78 acres of land or any other extent is exempt from the operation the Act. This itself is sufficient to dispose of the Civil Revision Petition.
(2.) THE learned Advocate for the petitioner argued that the lands in which plantain crops have been raised will be exempt from the operation of the Act. He relied on Section 51 (1) of the Madras Public Trusts (Regulation of Administration of Agricultural Lands) Act, hereinafter called the Act, in respect of this contention, but the word 'plantations' used in that Section has been defined in Section 2 (23) of the Act. According to the said definition 'plantation' means any land used for growing all or any of the following, namely, cardamom, cinchona, coffee, rubber or tea. In fact, Section 31 of the Act provides that nothing in Chapter IV shall "apply to any land during the period when such land is used for raising as main crop, sugarcane, plantain or betel vines or any crop Which does not give any yield for a continuous period of two years or more from the time of cultivation or to any contract merely the collection or harvesting of the crop of any kind." Chapter IV relates to fixation of fair rent. Thus, the exemption provided in Section 31 in respect of plantain and other crops refer only to fair rent and not to the other provisions of the Act. Hence it is not possible to invoke Section 51 (1) of the Act for excluding the land occupied by plantain crop. The learned advocate for the petitioner argued that the lands covered by plantain crop would fall under the exemption in Section 51 (iv) of the Act. Ismail J., in Akshyanathaswami Devasthanam v. S. Ramaswami Reddiar W.P. No. 3573 of 1969, decided on 27th October, 1969, has considered the matter in detail and found that plantains are not trees and hence exemption Under Section 51 (iv) of the Act could not be invoked on the ground that the land under cultivation of plantains will constitute orchards. On the same reasoning it is not possible to hold lands in which plantain crops are raised as topes.
(3.) THE learned Advocate for the petitioner, however, argued that as he has contended before the District Revenue Officer, that cocoanuts and plantains have been raised on 4.26 acres of land, an enquiry should have been ordered as to the extent of lands over which cocoanut trees have been raised in order to enable him to claim exemption in respect of the same of cocoanut thope Under Section 51 (v) of the Act. I need only state that no such plea has been specifically taken even in the lower appellate Court. I have already pointed out that the petitioner has not claimed any exemption under the Act before the Authorised Officer.;
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